Whether you’re looking for that dreamy wedding on a beach with the Caribbean in the background, or you want a small intimate party somewhere far away, a destination wedding can be the answer to your wedding day dilemmas. While it may be tempting to ditch the big wedding plans and run away to an exotic locale, make sure you think through all of the details that you need to cover when planning a wedding away from home.
Here are some of the most common mistakes that couples make when planning a destination wedding.
Not seeing the venue in person
We’ve all heard the horror stories of vacations gone wrong. An unsuspecting traveler finds a steal online. The pictures are gorgeous. The description is perfect. The reviews, equally impressive. But then the traveler arrives at the destination to find that her exotic beachside cottage is little more than a beach shack. Marketing materials are made to appeal to your emotions and to make the destination feel like a dream come true. It can be a challenge, but you should do whatever you can to see the destination in person before committing.
The Knot.com recommends not just one trip, but preferably three – one to scout out your venue, and two more for planning and final preparations. These would include tastings, scheduling hair and makeup, picking out flowers, and other little details that can quickly get overlooked in the busyness of the event.
Not planning for bad weather
Standing on the beach, breeze blowing in your hair and sun beaming on your skin… it paints a perfect picture for the bride-to-be. But remember that Mother Nature doesn’t always go along with our best-laid plans, no matter how much we wish she would. What are you and your guests going to do if it rains? What if your wedding date happens to be at the peak of hurricane season? And a Category 4 is making a bullseye for your exotic little island. The best thing to do is be flexible and know that bad weather can happen. Many resorts can arrange back up plans for you and your guests. Get these plans in writing and check for any clauses that might allow for refunds in the event of bad weather.
Not planning for travel delays
If you’ve ever traveled, you know the frustration of travel delays. Whether your delay is weather related or a mechanical issue with the plane, delays must be considered when making your wedding plans. The best way to fit potential delays into your schedule is to give a cushion of time. Add at least one extra day for travel to the beginning of your celebration. If no one has delays, this gives you extra time to get ready for the big day without the stress of being rushed or being late.
Not thinking about what you can’t bring with you
Depending on where you’re going, if the travel involves a plane trip, there are going to be things that you simply cannot bring with you. It’s best if you plan on using a hair salon or makeup artist at the destination you’re headed to so that you won’t have to worry about getting through security with the restrictions on liquids. Oversized bridal gowns can also pose a problem. If your wedding dress has a long train and other features that could make it difficult to get on the plane, consider shipping it to the destination ahead of time.
Assuming you’ll save money because you’ll have fewer guests
One attractive feature of a destination wedding is that you’ll most likely have fewer guests. At first, this may seem like a money-saver right off the bat, however depending on where you’re going, the cost of the resort or accommodations, and the cost to get there, a destination wedding can cost you more than a big wedding in your hometown. Before you decide to do a destination wedding, be sure to sit down and compare all of the costs. In many cases, you will save more money on a destination wedding because many resorts cover every little detail. Just watch for any hidden expenses and plan a cushion into your budget for extras.
A destination wedding can provide a perfect fairytale backdrop to your big day. It’s a great way to combine the cost of a honeymoon and wedding. As long as you start planning your wedding knowing the possible pitfalls to watch out for, you can have the wedding day of your dreams and an event that all of your guests will walk away from feeling happy and satisfied.